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OPINION: Stormy interview? Too long for 60 minutes

I've been a fan of the weekly television program "60 Minutes'' for decades, so it wasn't unusual that I had that program on the screen last Sunday evening.

I've been a fan of the weekly television program "60 Minutes'' for decades, so it wasn't unusual that I had that program on the screen last Sunday evening.

I didn't tune in specifically to see Anderson Cooper interview adult entertainer Stormy Daniels. I'd have been watching, anyway, whatever the topic. That hour of television has been as much a Sunday evening tradition around our home as popcorn and cheese and slices of apple, and traditions don't come much stronger than our Sunday evening popcorn.

Most weeks, "60 Minutes'' is divided into three separate segments. The program used to finish with snarky commentary from the acerbic Andy Rooney, commentary that lightened the mood after an hour heavy on serious news of the nation and the world. Sometimes on Sunday evenings, the news segments on "60 Minutes'' capture my undivided attention. Other times, a segment might be mildly interesting at best. When that happens, I divide my attention between the screen and a good book or newspaper and wait to see if the following segment is a grabber or a yawner. Last Sunday, for me, was an evening for both a newspaper and a good book.

The subject matter ought to have been fascinating, I suppose, what with allegations of a relationship between an adult performer and an unconventional president. But at some point, it's more than enough, you know? Not long into the first segment, I'd pretty much caught the drift and was ready to move on. The basics had been discussed, and I didn't need a whole lot of the detail that followed. But maybe that's just me. Maybe most viewers hung on every word. I could understand that. For me, it just got old.

If I hadn't had a book and a paper, I might have given up and gone off searching the other channels, where I'd have run into one of the NCAA basketball games or a cooking show or maybe HGTV with its flips and flops. That would have been a shame, because the last segment of "60 Minutes'' featured a gifted Greek basketball player, a 23-year-old member of the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks. His story was well worth the telling, at once entertaining and uplifting. The story moved, the mood was upbeat and so far, it has had a happy ending. I'd have preferred one segment on Stormy Daniels and two segments on Giannis Antetokounmpo, the basketball player.

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I saw a comment on Twitter after the end of the "60 Minutes'' program. The guy tweeted that he was embarrassed because his kids came in the room and caught him watching "60 Minutes.'' Funny, although we had a granddaughter watching the program with us, so I kind of knew how the guy felt. Can we keep it a little wholesome in prime time? It wasn't as uncomfortable as that time when our teen-aged son brought home the video "Bull Durham'' to watch with his two grandmas. Still, I was glad when the Stormy segments ended.

Don't get me wrong. I think the basic news in the Stormy Daniels - President Trump story is significant. I'll be interested to see how it all turns out. But I didn't need the best part of an hour of prime time on the details. There's a lot of other news out there.

One of the big problems I have with today's 24-hour news cycle is the endless repetition of the same information. Shouldn't "news,'' at its core, mean "new?'' In my time with The Associated Press, we joked about having "a deadline a minute.'' It went without saying that those deadlines required "new'' news. Of course, that was a time when both air time and newspaper space were limited. The words had to fit those limits, which meant every word had to matter.

Air time these days is unlimited, and Nature abhors a vacuum, as Aristotle supposedly said. The vacuum gets filled, whether there's new news or not. I get that. But my favorite Sunday evening program still has only 60 minutes. The people in charge usually fill those minutes with news. I thought last Sunday evening, they fell a bit short.

Related Topics: TERRY WOSTER
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